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Giving Compass' Take:
• The Thomson Reuters Foundation's article details the dilemma facing migrants, who battle both COVID-19 and climate disasters.
• What can we do to present displaced workers with shelter from COVID-19 and climate disasters? How does the pandemic exemplify the disparate impact of disasters on vulnerable populations?
• Learn about different resources geared towards combating the effects of COVID-19 and climate disasters.
A toxic mix of Covid-19 and climate disasters puts displaced people at greater risk - from families evacuated from the path of storms to farmers forced into cities as drought bites.
Migration experts are worried that the Covid-19 respiratory disease could spread quickly in crowded, unhygienic camps and also in centres where people shelter to stay safe in storms or floods, or because their homes have been destroyed.
Alex Randall, who coordinates the Climate and Migration Coalition, said that in 2020, strategies to protect people from weather disasters by moving them could clash with virus lockdowns or travel curbs, causing confusion, tensions and even violence.
“Some countries that suffer the worst impacts of climate change will encounter a situation where it is those climate change impacts and the displacement (they) create which additionally hampers them in preventing the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
Harjeet Singh, global climate lead for ActionAid, said South Asia’s upcoming monsoon season would be extremely tough, with most humanitarian agencies yet to work out a plan for how to respond alongside a pandemic.
In India, for example, there has been an exodus of migrant workers from cities who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 lockdowns and had no option but to head back to their villages, some walking hundreds of kilometres to get there.
They and their families now face monsoon floods and cyclones with very little money in reserve and slim chances of finding work in stagnant rural economies, said Delhi-based Singh.
Meanwhile, governments at national and state level have lost large chunks of their revenues during the shutdown and may not be in a financial position to provide emergency relief as usual, he noted.
Read the full article about how migrants are trapped between COVID-19 and climate disasters from the Thomson Reuters Foundation at Eco-Business.